The 12-Item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12): reliability, external validity and factor structure in the Spanish population

Psicothema. 2008 Nov;20(4):839-43.


The purpose of this study was to analyze the internal consistency and the external and structure validity of the 12-Item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) in the Spanish general population. A stratified sample of 1001 subjects, ages between 25 and 65 years, taken from the general Spanish population was employed. The GHQ-12 and the Inventory of Situations and Responses of Anxiety-ISRA were administered. A Cronbach's alpha of .76 (Standardized Alpha: .78) and a 3-factor structure (with oblique rotation and maximum likelihood procedure) were obtained. External validity of Factor I (Successful Coping) with the ISRA is very robust (.82; Factor II, .70; Factor III, .75). The GHQ-12 shows adequate reliability and validity in the Spanish population. Therefore, the GHQ-12 can be used with efficacy to assess people's overall psychological well-being and to detect non-psychotic psychiatric problems. Additionally, our results confirm that the GHQ-12 can best be thought of as a multidimensional scale that assesses several distinct aspects of distress, rather than just a unitary screening measure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*